9/11 and the United Kingdom

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2011


That fateful Tuesday morning, I was working at home. I taught in the history department at the State University of New York at Binghamton but commuted to New York City almost every weekend to spend time in our apartment. A former student of mine who lives in New York City called me to tell me to switch on the television because the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon were burning. After tuning in, I watched for fifteen minutes, and then went back to my desk. With the benefit of hindsight, I can only surmise that my longstanding contempt for the corporate media’s newspeak blinded me to the importance of the events unfolding. I could not return to New York City until Saturday morning because all the bridges onto the island borough of Manhattan had been sealed off. As I approached the city, what immediately struck me was an acrid burning smell. I am narrating the 9/11 attacks this way partly because its facts are too familiar for me to add anything significant, but also because this was the personal experience of a British citizen who had been living and working in the United States since 1985.